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Look Ahead

Who To Watch in 2022

AV’s constellation of more than 500 grantees catalyze evidence to drive policy change. Here are just a few of the movers and shakers making a difference in the field.

Driving solutions to some of the nation’s most intractable problems requires an army, and Arnold Ventures’ network of more than 540 active grantees are a force to be reckoned with. From criminal justice to health care, to higher education and democracy reform, AV’s grantees are committed to catalyzing evidence and research to maximize opportunity and minimize injustice. With 2022 shaping up to be a pivotal year in policy change, here are a few Arnold Ventures grantees who are well-positioned to make a difference.

Criminal Justice: For the People

After successfully passing the nation’s first-ever Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing law two years ago in California, this Oakland-based organization has been working with prosecutors, community partners, and incarcerated individuals to secure the release of people in prison who can be safely returned home to their families. 

Working with prosecutor’s offices, For the People assists prosecutors in reconsidering old cases and making recommendations about who can be released. The law has so far led to the release of 100 people in California, and For the People is expanding into new states and working with additional prosecutor’s offices in its efforts to remedy unjust sentences. 

Health Care: Dr. Aaron Kesselheim

Leading one of the largest independent academic centers focused on the intersections of prescription drugs, patient health, and regulatory practices, Dr. Aaron Kesselheim and his team at the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) have long played an integral role in driving the research and policy agenda on pharmaceutical pricing and patent practices. 

Kesselheim made headlines last year when he resigned his position as a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel following the agency’s controversial decision to approve an Alzheimer’s drug that lacked proof of clinical benefits. 

Kesselheim and his team at PORTAL are well-positioned to continue to shape the ongoing discussion around evidence-based policies to lower the price of prescription drugs and curtail anticompetitive behaviors in the pharmaceutical industry.

Higher Education: Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

As seen in Shattered, the portrait series profiling students who have been cheated by predatory schools, student borrowers need protection as well as recourse. Lawyers’ Committee is launching an effort to identify, eradicate, and prevent predatory schools from targeting students of color, which aligns with the organization’s mission to secure equal justice for all through the rule of law.

Evidence-Based Policy: Colorado Equitable Economic Mobility Initiative (CEEMI)

CEEMI is a nonprofit that launched in 2021 focused on substantially scaling up economic mobility interventions shown in well-conducted randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to produce sizable, sustained effects on policy important outcomes (e.g., postsecondary degree receipt and workforce earnings). Working closely with Colorado policymakers and philanthropies, CEEMI is already making meaningful progress toward this goal.

Contraceptive Choice and Access: Colorado Children’s Campaign and Planned Parenthood of Rocky Mountains

These two organizations, with Arnold Ventures’ support, worked in collaboration to successfully pass legislation to support contraceptive choice and access. One bipartisan bill expanded family planning Medicaid coverage to people making too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford contraception. Another bill strengthened method coverage and removed barriers to contraception in both Medicaid and private insurance. 

With good implementation, these bills are poised to help hundreds of thousands of people make decisions about their families and their lives, and lay the foundation for similar models in other states.

Journalism/​Criminal Justice: The Marshall Project

A nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom focused on criminal justice coverage, The Marshall Project capped off 2021 with the most prestigious journalism award in the United States, a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of police dog bites. Their yearlong investigation led to policy reforms across the country to curtail the harmful effects of police dogs. This year, they have announced plans to expand into local markets, starting with Cleveland, Ohio.